It's no longer possible to buy the humidity pump for the Brinsea Octagon 20 egg incubator. Humidity has to be dealt with manually, using the two reservoirs in the base of the machine.
It seems that Brinsea are planning to phase out the Octagon 20, in favour of the newer Ovation 28 (affiliate link).
That means there is a good deal to be had on the Octagon 20 now, but you'll need to buy the turning cradle separately unless you're happy to turn the eggs manually.
But this time, you'll very likely want to hatch even more eggs than before.
How do I know? Because that's exactly what happened to me!
I grew out of my Brinsea Mini Advance 7 egg incubator very quickly (although it's still my favourite and my go-to piece of hatching equipment when I want to hatch a small number of chicks). I graduated to Brinsea's Octagon 20.
I love it, and as a reliable, larger incubator it would take a lot to beat it.
However, it seems Brinsea are no longer offering the complete, automated package of incubator, turner and humidity pump. It's now necessary to buy the incubator and turning cradle separately, which makes this an expensive option.
Does that make it prohibitively expensive, and is there another option? We'll come back to that, later in this review.
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Its amazing ability to sustain temperature and humidity levels no matter what the external environment is like. This separates it from other, smaller incubators - even my favourite Mini Advance. Smaller machines tend not to operate as well if the outside temperature is low or fluctuates.
The digital read-out is clear and instantly indicates that the temperature and moisture levels are right. The one thing it doesn't do, unlike the smaller 7 egg Mini Advance incubator, is count down the days.
Being able to dismantle it for cleaning. Keeping incubators clean between hatches to get rid of bacteria is critical to success. The Octagon 20 comes apart so that, apart (obviously) from the electrical elements, it's very easy to clean.
Setting up the digital controls on the Octagon is exactly the same process as for Brinsea's other egg incubators. To see me setting up the Mini Advance, click on this link.
It's not as easy to see inside as it is with the smaller Brinsea Mini Advance, which has a high dome making viewing a pleasure. The workings of the fan and moisture control in the lid drop down into the hatching chamber, reducing the available viewing space. It also means much less room for the chicks to move about.
It's quite big - sitting on its auto-turner cradle it measures 17" (43 cm) wide by 10" (25.5 cm) deep.
It's not cheap. It used to be possible to buy the whole package: incubator, turning cradle and humidity pump. That's no longer possible so you have to buy the cradle separately, which adds to the cost.
I've read some reviews which say that this incubator was not reliable. However, they were from its very early days and it seems that Brinsea have now ironed out those early problems. All I can say is that I've owned the Octagon 20 since 2013, and I have always found it extremely reliable.
Based on my own experience - yes, with three reservations. It's easy to set up, and the temperature and humidity controls are very accurate.
This is my go-to egg incubator if I want to hatch either more than 6 eggs, or different types of poultry. I've hatched geese and turkeys in the Octagon 20 - in fact it's become a bit of a celebrity in my part of Italy! My neighbours regularly bring their eggs to hatch because they're so fascinated by it.
I'm just waiting for someone to want ducks!
If you've read any of my other reviews, you'll know that I like to assess products in terms of how much I love them to do whatever job they're meant to do.
In the case of the Octagon 20 egg incubator, I don't feel I can award it the full number of stars for the reasons I've stated above.
Having said that, it's a very reliable incubator and super-easy to use.
For that reason, I'm giving it...
It's possible to buy each of the elements for the Octagon 20 separately, so building up from a manual to a completely automated version over time.
It's an expensive way of doing it, but at present it seems Brinsea have decided to stop offering the all-in-one package that was available when I bought.
If you want this egg incubator but you don't want to pay for the auto-turn cradle at the moment, it's possible to buy just the machine and to add the cradle in at a later date.
You just need to remember to turn each egg by hand at least four or five times per day. If you don't, your hatch rates will be much less successful.
The incubator easily slots into this turning cradle, which "rocks" the eggs from side to side at intervals you set on the digital display.